(This is just the tiny shrine, not the building where I stayed!!!)
On Sunday, we took Wombat there for a little outing. (The above is a picture I found on the net - I have archived all my photos from my first visit and didn't take any this time as there were too many visitors around the shrine). We took Wombat for a walk around the grounds. The views were as spectacular as I remembered...
Unfortunately, it also showed how quickly Sydney's smog layer is creeping up on us! Time for us to move!!!
The highlight, of course, were the family of kangaroos who live wild in Schoenstatt's paddocks. When I was staying there, I would go for several walks every day, talking to Wombat and the kangaroos (observors may have said talking to myself...)
The lighting wasn't right for taking pictures, and I didn't want to go too close and scare them away - the whole idea was for Wombat to get to see them...
which he did...
and he loved it! He wanted to get out of his pram and chase them for a cuddle ;D
(Note the gumleaf - no matter where we go, he has to have a leaf or flower in his hand... we walk past a tree and he points and makes his desire known, so I pick him a nice leaf, and he carries it the whole time, in the pram and out - only releasing it when we get back in the car (or to swap for a new one that he finds along the way)
While we were there, I got the chance to duck into the gift shop and buy myself the mother's day present I REALLY wanted. I saw this picture while staying there and instantly loved it - Our Lady as Mother of Good Counsel.
I have an old holy card from my Grandma with this picture on it, and the following hymn (just wish I knew the tune, but I use it often as a prayer...)
Oh Holy Mary, Mother of Good Counsel,
Sweetest patron mortal ever knew.
In all my doubts I turn to thee for guidance.
Oh Mother, tell me, what am I to do?
By thy face to Jesus' face incling,
sheltered safely in thy mantle blue,
by his little arms around thee twining,
Oh Mother, tell me, what am I to do?
It is just the most peaceful and lovely picture and helps me to be much more patient with my Wombat (especially lately, when his teething means he isn't napping or sleeping well, so I am getting further and further behind in my studies. Even when I go without sleep myself to try and catch up, I'm constantly going back in to soothe him off to sleep again...) I love the trusting way that Jesus is looking at Mary, and I also love the detail that his hand resting on her neckline supposedly represents the intimacy of nursing... since I'm still doing quite a lot of that too ;D
Anyway, speaking of studying, that's what I'm supposed to be doing now, so I will leave you with the history of this picture. I was really curious to know who painted it - and this is all I could find out - the painting from which my print is taken is much older and has a much more interesting story than I ever imagined!
The little city of Gennazano, situated on the mountains of the former Sabina province, about ten leagues from Rome, for a thousand years already had honored the Blessed Virgin as Our Lady of Good Counsel. In the 15th century, the church of that city was dilapidated and about to collapse. A pious woman of advanced age named Petruccia desired to provide for its reconstruction, but the gift of her entire fortune, which she made for this purpose, proved insufficient. Petruccia foretold that the Blessed Virgin would Herself finish the work.
Then on April 25, 1467, at the hour of Vespers, a celestial harmony was heard in the air, and the crowd saw a brilliant cloud coming down through the air, which came to rest over the altar in the Chapel of Saint Blaise in the Gennazano Church, where the restoration had begun. At the same time, all the church bells began to ring joyously. The cloud disappeared, and the marveling crowd saw a picture of Mary holding the Child Jesus, painted on a prepared surface, suspended in the air over the altar near the wall, without any natural support. It was duly verified that this picture had been miraculously transported from a church of Scutari, a city of Albania. Providence, wishing to preserve it from profanation by the Turks who were controlling that land, sent it as a reward for the faith of Petruccia and her fellow citizens of Gennazano.
A history of the marvels of all kinds which have been wrought since that time near this miraculous picture, suspended in the air, would require volumes. Often the picture has been seen to change its expression, the eyes of the Blessed Virgin taking on an appearance of joy or sorrow. How many illnesses and infirmities have been cured! How many spiritual graces have been obtained! Gennazano in Italy is still a venerated pilgrimage site, much frequented by the people of that land, and many pious pilgrims from other nations, when time permits it for them, arrange to visit this blessed sanctuary. The Sovereign Pontiffs have granted many indulgences to devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the title Mother of Good Counsel was included in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin by Pope Leo XIII.
If I ever get to Italy, this place will be on my MUST SEE list!